"(New Testament form of Hannah.) A prophetess of the tribe of Asher who, after a short married life of seven years, had been, at the time of our Lord’s birth, a widow for 84 years. She was one of those who greeted the infant Jesus at His presentation in the temple"Here's what the scripture in Luke 2:36-38
And she a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served with fastings and prayers night and day.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Who is Anna and why is she only mentioned once. We know from reading the verses that she was
- A Prophetess
- Daughter of Phanuel
- From the tribe of Asher
- Was 84 years old
- A widow
- MAY have lived in the temple
So I took LDS.org and the internet to find more clues to who Anna was. LDS.org explains why she was mentioned in a way that makes is understandable:
The Spirit’s witness to the divinity of Jesus was not to be confined to a man. There was at that time in the temple a godly woman of great age, Anna, a prophetess who devoted herself exclusively to temple service; and she, being inspired of God, recognized her Redeemer, and testified of Him to all about her. Both Joseph and Mary marveled at the things that were spoken of the Child; seemingly they were not yet able to comprehend the majesty of Him who had come to them through so miraculous a conception and so marvelous a birth.
I love how it states, "The Spirit's witness to the divinity of Jesus was NOT to be confined to a man." Any one can testify of Jesus. Anna was a prophetess because she prophesied about Jesus Christ, that he is the Redeemer.
Another website I found theopolisinstitute.comExplains about Anna further.
"With Simeon and Anna, we have the testimony of two reliable witnesses. It is important to remember where they are. They are in the temple. Even before Jesus can speak or show Himself the Christ, even before His baptism, God announces to His faithful people the birth of His Son. God the proud Father allows faithful Israel to see the Son of God and welcome Him into His Temple. What a contrast to unfaithful Israel. Herod already wants Jesus dead, and when Jesus grows up, temple leaders will scream for His crucifixion. Simeon and Anna shows us how the true people of God receives Jesus: Jesus is Holy to the Lord. He is the Christ. Praise God for preserving a true people for himself. Unless God adopted us into His family, we’d be blind to His Son and oppose His work in the world.
In Anna’s days, there were plenty of reasons for her to avoid going to the Temple. Her fasting and prayers speak to a dilemma in her day. Anna’s fasting recognizes the need for a redeemer. She’s removing herself from the desecration, the leaven of self-righteousness all too common, the distraction of people who want the Temple to serve their purposes rather than God’s, a distraction even today found among the halls of God’s house.This behaviour, fasting and praying, is Anna’s elegy of her situation in order to provoke God to act on her behalf. She fasts from food, becomes physically hungry, and this physical hunger reminds her of her hunger for God to whom she prays for relief. Anna’s plea is for God to bring about the redemption of Jerusalem. We join her ranks when we pray “Lord, rescue your people from our enemies encircling us all around.”
That site has so much more about Anna, which I will leave you to explore on your own.
But now that I have looked up about Anna I have noticed that her role in the Bible was very important even though there is little about her. She is important because she is
- a second witness
- a righteous person
- a prophet to testify of Jesus Christ